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>> was the president right to kick out the u.s. drug enforcement commission. you are watching "inside story." captioned by the national captioning institute >> as a former farmer himself, abel morales can to power in libya promising to help produce cocoa. he kicked at the u.s. drug
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enforcement administration and begin the country's own system regulating cocoa leaf production. it is an awesome and controversial partnership. it brought heavy criticism from washington. it left to the u.s. government to conclude that bolivia was failing to meet its commitment to fight production of cocaine. a new report suggests the country's on orthodox measures -- unorthodox measures are working. katherine is from the information network. she is one of the members of the -- office of the report. >> the u.s. policy position had a great deal of frustration on the part of oblivion's throughout the country that all u.s. funding was ties to forced
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eradication -- on the part of bolivians cure of the country that all u.s. funding was tied to forced eradication. it was seen as something that was a concession. it was a recognition that each family had registered for a small amount to guarantee their subsistence , theircocoa farm -- that cocoa farming is not about being involved in the drug society. >> who spearheaded this? wasn't the farmers themselves to recognize the need for this change? >> this was a long time to dance on the part of the coca growers. it was something that ask for
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for a long time that only began to take hold and have a real system to its with the inauguration of abel morales in 2006. the government understands the importance of subsistence and the impossibility of substituting all income of cocoa with other products. the human rights violations that would be carried out at the same time forced eradication in bolivia and throughout the an dean area. >> how effective has this been? >> there are many yardsticks you can use to measure how effective it has been. measure it by use by the united states. there has been a significant reduction.
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the u.s. recognized in 2011 there was a 13% reduction. the u.n. confirms that there was a least a 12% reduction. in colombia, there were slight increases. both countries have both doubled the amount. there are other yardsticks that are better and measuring the quality of cocoa production. that is quality of life for farmers. what we found is a dynamic that has just begun to take hold. thomas has to be guarantees -- farmers have to be guaranteed. they can branch out to other things. >> is this sustainable long- term? is it enough to sustain in the long term although there may be short-term reductions.
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>> the forces would rip out the cocoa crops and people would have nothing to eat and people would credit leave replant. -- quicly replant. the price of coca -- it is these kinds of alternatives that give this a much better chance of being sustainable. it improves the quality of life. >> with me to further discuss bolivia going its own way in controlling its coca leaf production is the senior associate for drug policy at the washington and latin american group.
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then the director of the drug policy project at the institute for policy studies. that a new start with you. we have heard from those working in the region. they say this approach is effective. is it? >> the results are positive. it goes to many of the points that were raised. this model has much more to speak for sustainability that forced eradication model, which land -- landto replanting after replanting. this gives -- led to replanting after replanting. that was a recipe for un sustainability. this can sustain -- contain and reduce in a way that is politically viable.
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katherine did point out that there were some key aspects to this program. after the president kicked out the drug enforcement agency in 2009, the country implemented a system that permits the use of cocaine for traditional use. grow worse are registered and lemons are strictly enforced. -- and limits are strictly enforced. the government relies on growers policing each of the. multiple violations can lead to punishment by the entire -- the government relies on grow worse policing each other. multiple violations can lead to punish them by the entire grow worse -- growers union. let's talk a little bit about the ownership. that seems to be something that has been touched on over and
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over. is that a key in making this work? >> if you want someone to stop doing something, it is important to understand why they are doing it. previous models to give these farmers like criminals. stop what you are doing. but they are family farmers. if you do not understand why they are growing these crops year after year, you force eradication and use force these families into food insecurity. it is something we take for granted. we do not worry whether we are one to eat next week or not. if forced eradication can come in and destroy your livelihood in an hour, you are left with a panic situation. how do i feed my kids next week, next month, or next year? what is the one crop they know how to grow that is easily to transport that they are going to replant? that is a recipe for failure.
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under the bolivian model, each family has an regulated crop that gives them food security and a reasonable and modest income. you can diversify the local economies. you can go to a car repair workshop or a hotel. people will take risks if they have some predictability in their lives, some sense of security that was lacking under the previous u.s. model of forced eradication. >> there has been a sense of security that has been achieved. >> one of the main problems is that in bolivia coca leaves are a traditional and sometimes religious product. it feeds entire portions of bolivian society. it is hard to take it away and substitute nothing in its place. coca is the base of cocaine.
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it is that link is that has to be broken. if you can find ways to allow the coca producers to their own uses for chewing and altitude sickness -- these are legitimate uses that have been done for centuries. when more is grown then just for personal consumption, it often finds itself into the cocaine economy and that is where it becomes dangerous and crosses borders and becomes a concern to organizations like the united states and the bba. >> that is a legitimate criticism you are hearing over and over from the obama white house and other governments around the world. there is this concern that this might be working for bolivia, but when you look at it from a global standpoint, bolivia is not living up to obligations that it has pledged to work with other countries regarding security issues and violence.
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>> there is an alice in wonderland quality to the u.s. criticisms. because there is a global cocaine market, bolivia, even with the help of its neighbors, like brazil, it is not going to stop cocaine trafficking on its own. columbia has not stopped it and peru is not doing it. the question is, how can you manage in a way that does not cause -- colombia has not stopped it and peru is not doing it. bolivia has really good innovation. that does not mean they do not have enormous challenges. bolivia is a transit company for cocaine from peru to big markets in argentina and new york.
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it is more complicated than just production and consumer countries. it is more complicated than bolivia's doing a good job or not. -- bolivians do a good job or not. >> you have been supportive. but the u.n. has also been critical. i want to put you a sound bite with the question was put about being called the control to the u.s. state department. fightivia's efforts to drug-trafficking without the assistance of the dea or other u.s. authorities may be having some of that impact, although it is controversial.
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has the u.s. seen these reports and what does the u.s. think about the efforts to deal with illegal trafficking and coca growing and distribution outside of a merit type relationship. >> we have longstanding concerns about the situation in bolivia. i do agree that they have made some progress in 2010 and 2011. there is much to do if the state department -- there is more to do. the state department spokeswoman speaking there. maybe things have gotten better managed and have become more efficient. this is benefiting drug- traffickers, who are not able to see higher yields for not just traditional usage but also for the export. that is also a significant
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concern. >> there will be some crossover. bolivia is bigger than texas and california combined in terms of land mass. it is impossible to have a perfect system. the other alice in wonderland aspect is that less than 1% of u.s. cocaine originates from bolivia. a disproportionate emphasis and arrogance that the u.s. has in terms of imposing policies and making these pronouncements to a country that has contributed so little to the cocaine policy of the united states. contrast that with our main alley -- ally in the region, colombia. 95% comes from colombia. >> most cocaine produced for illicit use it does go to brazil and to the north.
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that may be the trend right now, but drug-traffickers rarely respect international law our borders. >> it has to do with sovereignty and having the cooperation of regional allies to understand the situation a lot better. the international drug war is an extension of domestic u.s. politics and posturing and theatre in congress to look tough. a lot of these policies, when you get down to the ground level, have little bearing in reality. there is not a lot of ground trooping going on in terms of policy formation in washington. >> is there a fear that this is opening a pandora's box, that other countries in the region would want to follow suit and that could really start to tear apart the programs that the u.s. is trying to implement? >> it is an important question.
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the question hinges on whether it is an all size fits one model. i would argue that there is not. based on its history, its culture, its traditions. if a program like this works in bolivia, it may not work next door in peru. it may not work in colombia and it may not work in afghanistan. each country has to be looked at individually. they need to take into account some of these on the ground realities. it is a global market. drugs are a global market. just like energy, if the united states gets oil from venezuela and its oil from canada and mexico, these are global markets. the united states may get some cocaine from colombia or peru, but bolivian cocaine is moving
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to west africa and europe. the traffickers will find where the cocaine is demanded and they will get it. it does not matter where it is coming from. we have to address both sides of the equation. >> this is a unique situation inside bolivia. is this a model that can be exported or is this an blip on the radar? >> look for elements of the model that worked in bolivia. see how they could map in different countries. colombia and peru have much more serious security issues. that means that if there is going to be a social control model, there needs to be a better level of security provided by government. in major cocoa growing zones
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like colombia, the government is absent. the people in control are criminals, former paramilitary, or drug traffickers. the people are at their mercy. imagine you are going to have a social control program. he people would love to have their own variety. for them to be able to do that requires a basic level of security. orat the state is unable unwilling to provide. bolivia has real advantages in that sense. they see this as a government that is looking after their interests to try to make a way. there is not that sense of being on the same page with the coca growers in the through our colombia and the government is trying to work through this with them. >> what if there is an election
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or a change in government? is there something that can be sustained long-term? there is not something that someone can answer. >> domestically, with and bolivia, it is culpa in terms of chewing, tea, candy, -- it is coca. >> the production far exceeds traditional needs. >> the coca leaf is not the same as cocaine. that is a hard thing to get across to people in the united states. that is like comparing the effects of coffee to methamphetamines. it is a mile and beneficial plant. they have a right to do this. this is a part of their -- it is aimed -- a mile and beneficial plant.
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it is part of their cultural heritage. it is like telling people in the united states to stop making coffee by next year. >> there is a lobbying effort at the u.n. to try to have some of these traditional uses recognized. how much support is then going to be at the u.n. level after that? >> unless countries actively block bolivia's efforts to return to the u.n. conventions with the reservation that only the polls traditional uses of coca, 1/3 -- upholds the traditional uses of coal, 1/3 of the members have to object. the only country to object was the united states. >> could we start to see some of the thinking come into a more realistic picture of what is happening? >> to the extent that this is a
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bolivian issue with a bolivian generate the solution, i think the u.n. is calling to be amenable to that. some of the difficulties arise when we talk about the model getting exports outside the country. there is a different cultural traditions and bolivia. going back to the point about the amount of coca that is grown and with the use is for, what we have seen over the years in terms of fighting illegal drugs, a lot of times the fight is waged on statistics. sometimes the statistics are better than all this. this is a precise business. a specific example of where that can choke us up. nobody really knows what is the actual amount of domestic demand for traditional uses in bolivia. it is an estimate. to the extent that the coca is produced above what the local traditional usage would be, it
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is not hard to guess where the overage or that access is going to go. it is going to go for the production of cocaine and into international cocaine trafficking. that is what the battle is being fought. nobody really does cues that bolivia has a right to choose the coca leaf in terms of altitude. this is something important for the culture and tradition. the problem is when somebody is throwing well in excess of their own needs and the needs of their community. then the question is, where does that go to? the answer has been pretty obvious. that is what people are concerned about. >> bolivian interdiction and crackdowns on shipments increased dramatically. previous governments were subservient. they are doing a better job doing the precise things that
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they should be doing. >> two things for perspective. one in terms of the vote -- the global market issue. the amount of land devoted to growing coca is pretty stable. 150,000 to 200,000 patches. stable. bolivia is on a good track to sustain and contain. this is about managing something that no one country can manage. cocaine is a global market. the goal is not to eradicate coca in bolivia. that is not going to happen in our lifetime. nor in colombia and/or in peru. nor is a dramatic shrinking of the global cocaine market. the latest model is the best we have seen. is it utopian? no.
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but it is better than what came before and it is much better than what colombia and peru are able to do now with massive u.s. support. this gets back to what the u.s. position should be and what it is. if you read between the lines, the u.s. pronounces something about the olympians -- bolivians messing up and it is mass of praise. it could not be otherwise. it is important for bolivia. >> do you agree with that? >> the colombia experience is totally different from bolivia. you have different geographic positions. you have different strategic positions. colombia is not perfect. the progress being made in colombia has been dramatic, maybe not in terms of the reduction of acreage. >> thank you.
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we appreciate that. thank you for watching. thank you for watching.
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Al Jazeera World News
LINKTV January 4, 2013 10:30am-11:00am PST

News/Business. Independent global news offers a variety of perspectives.

TOPIC FREQUENCY U.s. 20, Colombia 13, United States 8, U.n. 6, Peru 4, Washington 3, Alice 2, Abel Morales 2, Katherine 2, Brazil 2, Texas 1, New York 1, Theircocoa 1, Un Sustainability 1, Bba 1, Argentina 1, West Africa 1, Canada 1, Europe 1, Afghanistan 1
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